Monday, June 15, 2009

KIB's Fight Against Trashed Mentalities

One of my favorite organizations is Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB). Its name IS the mission statement.

KIB has partnered with pretty much everybody to improve the aesthetics of our fine city with landscaping, flower and tree planting, recycling information, and trash pick-ups. I encourage you all to donate time or money here. (It takes green to make green space!).

Keeping our city clean is an uphill battle because there is a surprisingly prevalent mentality that our streets are personal trashcans. If you have that attitude, you now do so at your own risk.

I'm talking to you, burgundy Honda Accord with plate KZ 8741! I was following you yesterday heading North on Keystone around 56th Street when you threw what looked like a gum wrapper out your window. Seriously, you couldn't keep THAT in your car until you got to a trashcan?

You may say, what is one piece of trash? Look at any on-ramp in Indianapolis, and you'll see the effect when multiplied by 1000s of people.

I'm also talking to you, Indygo.

A few months back, I was sitting at a light when a bus driver opened his window and dropped a handful of plastic wrappers onto the street. (Apparently, you can eat a LOT of Ding Dongs in a day). I identified the bus, the route, the time, and the location in my letter to Indygo. They said they would investigate and get back to me. Then they never did. I wonder if Indygo found my complaint trivial.

Maybe you do, too. You may say, "So what? This isn't as pressing like getting quality education or healthcare for children."

But it's attitudinal poisoning. A lot of people gauge what is acceptable by their peers' conduct. This may explain why we don't do better caring for each other as a society. When even the people who work FOR US have no respect for common areas, how can we expect them to respect common goals?

This respect is not an inherited trait. It's one we learn from our parents, if they have any sense. When our parents falter in teaching or aren't there to teach, we must learn it from extended families and friends. And when they falter, we learn it from a society intent on teaching this core civic value, which can be distilled as follows:


Now take what you've just learned and put it into practice before you get the letter in your personnel file and before the entire city knows your plate number.



Eclecticvibe said...

Take it a step further. Carry a bag with you and pick up litter while you're out and about in your neighborhood. When I walk my dogs, I keep a bag for dog poop and another for trash. Don't just be passive by putting trash where it belongs, but clean up after others too, and set an active example. Sure it's not your job, but it is your city.

jabberdoodle said...

I can't figure out how so many folks can dump mattresses and such, too. Its not like the city doesn't have very reasonable trash pick-up rates and one heavy trash pick-up each month.

Keep reporting them. I like it.

Chris Worden said...


You're my new hero. I do the same thing. This will sound cheesy, I know, but my mother always said, "Leave every place you go better than when you arrived." If I have a picnic at the park, I get my trash AND a bunch of other people's. If even 25% of the city did this everywhere, we'd be immaculate.

Russell said...

I have a friend who was riding with another friend in her car one day. Friend one (passenger) opened the window and threw out a gum wrapper. Friend two (driver) immediately stopped the car, turned around and drove back to where she dropped the wrapper and made her get out of the car and pick it up. I think my friend learned her lesson.

Kelly said...

We're on the same wavelength. I was horrified yesterday to watch someone through an entire styrofoam cup full of some liquid complete with straw and lid out the window of a shiny burgandy SUV on the Kessler Blvd N Dr exit ramp from W bound 38th street. I felt a little naive for being so upset, but your observation is correct: that callous attitude spreads, like a disease. It still boggles my mind how some people can have such disregard for each other and our environment.

BigReub said...

I'm with you too. This past week I spent time in Philly, New York, Baltimore, and DC.

Philly and Baltimore are shockingly clean. They both have solar powered trash cans that compact the trash occasionally as well as recycling boxes next to the trash cans. So everywhere you are you have the opportunity to keep the place clean AND recycle.

New York was about on par with Indy.

DC was very clean as well, but did not have the same clean infrastructure as the other two. However, I noticed many business owners keeping their store fronts clean.

And to add one item...if there is a sidewalk use it. I can't stand all the dirt paths through parks because people are too lazy to follow the walk ways.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is because I am not a smoker but I am irritated when I see people throw cigarettes [sometimes still burning] or empty ash trays from their car windows.....they have already polluted their lungs and made their cars stink...keep the butts in their car and dispose of them at home.